[QldGovSpin] Queensland Government Tackles Suicide Prevention
The first steps have been taken in a whole-of-government strategy to tackle one of the most distressing issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities - suicide.
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Policy, Liddy Clark
Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy Liddy Clark said suicide rates amongst Aboriginal males were six times higher than the rest of Queensland.
"Suicide is a sensitive and emotive subject, but we have to start talking about it more if we are to better understand the causes and develop strategies to reduce the risk in the future," Ms Clark said.
The Queensland Government Suicide Prevention Strategy (QGSPS) is a whole-of-government commitment involving several government departments.
Ms Clark said initially, the strategy would focus on four key areas - training, capacity building, risk management and intervention.
"A government steering committee has been established which will report directly to Cabinet," Ms Clark said.
"A range of additional reference groups, including both community and Indigenous representatives, have been established to provide advice to the steering committee. DATSIP has appointed a Senior Project Officer whose role includes establishing an Indigenous Reference Group.
"The project officer will work closely with the Indigenous Reference Group to advise the Government's Suicide Prevention Steering Committee on all the relevant issues," she said.
"The project officer will also liaise with staff from various government departments who actually deliver services to Indigenous communities."
Ms Clark said further down the track, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities would be actively encouraged to participate in the planning, development, monitoring and review of the Suicide Prevention Strategy.
"There will be a strong focus on developing effective partnerships and open and honest communication between government and communities," Ms Clark said.
"There is no point trying to develop and implement a strategy that does not meet the needs and expectations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
"This project is further proof that the Beattie Government is serious about addressing the problems communities are facing," she said.
The Queensland Government Suicide Prevention Strategy is part of a broad range of related projects the government has been implementing over the past 10 years to address Indigenous suicide.
These projects include the implementation of better safety procedures for Indigenous people in watch houses, correction centres, youth detention centres and diversionary centres.
The Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy has also led government initiatives under the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Agreement, which aims for significant reductions in incarceration rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Those initiatives are linked to the Queensland Government's broad objective to reduce the incidence of Indigenous suicide in custody, by reducing the number of Indigenous people incarcerated.
"The Queensland Government Suicide Prevention Strategy and all of the related programs aim to deliver appropriate solutions which will make a significant difference to the incidence of Indigenous suicide," Ms Clark said.
Media Contact: Marie Low 3222 2350